What’s the Best Age to Have a Baby?

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Women are at a disadvantage over men when it comes to fertility. While there is no limit to the number of times that a man can reproduce because they regenerate their sperm, a woman is born with the only eggs that she will ever have. This means that there is only a limited amount of children that a woman can have in her lifetime.

As we age, our eggs grow old with us. We also lose them as time progresses due to our periods. Some women have even found that their eggs are damaged due to injury, surgery or even cancer treatments that they may go through during their lifetime. This means that the older we become, the less likely it is that we will become pregnant.

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With this information in mind, you may be wondering what the best age to become pregnant is. Unfortunately, this number changes for every woman and it is difficult to pinpoint the exact age that any woman should become pregnant.

In fact, most experts have come to the agreement that there really is no perfect age that a woman should be when she becomes pregnant. Below you will find more information regarding the pros and cons of the different ages, so that you can decide for yourself.

1. Getting pregnant during a woman’s 20s

Fertility is usually best when a woman reaches the age of 18. However, some believe that the age in which a woman is the most fertile is during her early 20s. This is when you will see a lower risk of miscarriage; just under 10% for ages 20 to 24 and 10% for women between the ages of 25 and 29.

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However, many women who have just entered their 20s are just beginning to begin their career or may still be in college. In this circumstance, it is probably better for a woman to wait until she has reached her late 20s before becoming pregnant. She will most likely be established in her career by this point and she and her partner will be better prepared for the demands of parenthood.

2. Getting pregnant during a woman’s 30s

When a woman reaches the age of 30, fertility begins to drop and after the age of 38 it begins declining at an even sharper rate. Between the ages of 30 and 34 a woman’s chance of having a miscarriage is over 11% and after 35 she has an 18% risk of a miscarriage.

It is also more likely for a woman to give birth to a child with certain birth defects like Down syndrome and other abnormalities. The idea that your baby may have a birth defect due to your age can be a stressful experience.

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Another risk that a woman has who becomes pregnant in her late 30s and early 40s is having a multiple birth pregnancy, such as twins and triplets. However, women who have waited until their 30s and early 40s may be more emotionally ready to give birth to a child and more prepared for the challenges of motherhood.

3. Getting pregnant during a woman’s 40s

It is estimated that almost a third of pregnancies that occur in women between the ages of 40 and 44 result in a miscarriage and over half miscarry if they are over the age of 40. Most often miscarriage occurs before the end of the first 20 weeks.

Each year that a woman ages, there is also a greater chance that there will be a defect with the baby as well. Emotionally speaking, a woman in their early 40s is completely ready to have a child, which can make the process easier as a parent.

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Usually, by the age of 50 menopause has probably started and this makes it highly unlikely that a woman will be able to become pregnant. Adoption is still an option, but women at this age should keep in mind that as the child begins to age, so will they. It is a good idea to consider the things that they will be limited with as they grow older in order to determine if their child will suffer because of their parent’s age.

4. A man’s age

Although men can replenish their sperm regularly, it does become more difficult to become pregnant if the male partner is over the age of 50. At this time almost a third of men see a decline in the sperm that is produced. However, many men have been able to have children much older and do not see any types of fertility issues throughout their entire lives.

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5. Conclusion

While experts do not seem to be able to come to an agreement, it does appear that the best time for a woman to become pregnant is in her late 20s. This gives her the time she needs to finish her education and become established in her career before she begins a family of her own.

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Dr. Karen Leham, MD

Dr. Karen Leham is double board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Reproductive Endocronology and Infertility. Dr. Leham completed her residency at Loyola University, followed by a fellowship at UCLA.